Disability and Disasters

In an emergency situation, be it a natural disaster or a conflict situation, persons with disabilities have weaker possibilities to survive and get help than others.

 In an acute situation, surviving is the main concern. Persons with disabilities often face difficulties with evacuation from the risk zone due to difficulties related to mobility, information availability or understanding. Often persons with disabilities need constant support from their families and surrounding community. The families and communities often get at least temporarily dispersed in an emergency situation. Likewise, assistive device, regular medications and other necessities often go missing, which complicates the situation even further.

Disasters also create disability. Many people become disabled either temporarily or permanently in disasters. In addition to physical help, they also need emotional support in order to move on in their lives after becoming disabled.

Taking people with disabilities into account in disaster situations requires measures such as making surveys, supplying aid equipment, informing authorities, and organizing evacuation and water supply. In addition to crisis management methods, it is also important to create a manual to survey the number and location of persons with disabilities in every country.